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Items Held Outside of the Living Trust

Although the single individual has founded a living trust and placed all of his or her assets in it by titling those assets in the trust's name, this does not eliminate that person's need for a will. The creator of the trust will invariably have assets outside of the trust, and the inheritance of those assets needs to be assigned. The individual's will can provide for the distribution and assignments of those assets.

Some financial assets, such as checking accounts and small bank or credit union accounts, are normally held outside of the trust, and the distribution of those assets is usually covered by the individual's will. Other assets, the nature of which does not permit them to be included in the living trust, also need to be handled by the will. Assets of this type include jewelry, household furnishings, family heirlooms, motor vehicles, and the like. Physical possessions such as these whose cumulative value is under $100,000 are exempt from probate in California, but their disposition needs to be included in the individual's will.

If the value of the assets in the single individual's will is over $100,000, then a probate proceeding must be held.

A typical single individual's will normally leaves automobiles, furniture, and other valuable possessions to his or her children if they have any. However, if a person has established a living trust, the will dictates that all of the assets be left to the living trust. This type of will is called a "pour-over" will, since the assets are "poured" into the living trust.

Those assets added to the trust upon the originator's death will then be distributed by the successor trustee in accordance with the provisions of the living trust along with those assets the trust already holds.

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